The “Not-So-Secret” Secret

Last week, Gallup CEO Jim Clifton made headlines when he called the 5.6 percent unemployment rate stated by the BLS as a “big lie.”  While Clifton made it sound as though this was some type of cover-up, it really is no surprise.  The real unemployment (U-6) rate – including those who are working only part-time but would rather work full-time and those who have given up looking for work or are “marginally attached” to the labor force – was 11.3 percent in January, as reported by the BLS.  Furthermore, the labor force participation rate has hovered slightly under 63 percent, the lowest since 1978.  These numbers are truly shocking, but they are not secret.  Several bloggers and economists have mentioned these numbers each month.  It’s just that the White House doesn’t care to highlight them lest it ruin the narrative of a booming economic recovery.  This is not to say that things have not gotten better since 2008, but the U-6 and labor force participation rate numbers that are often ignored may become more significant down the road – when we wonder who is going to pay for burgeoning entitlements.  After all, it takes payroll taxes to fund Social Security and Medicare.  Your thoughts?  Is the U-6 rate something that we should be giving more attention?

Comments (3)

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  1. Wes Baker says:

    “Lies, damned lies, and statistics”

  2. Kayla N. says:

    With so many unfunded liabilities in Social Security and Medicare, a dwindling tax base and stagnation of wages.. one really has to wonder what is going to give first in the economy.

    Something needs to change, the status quo is unsustainable.

  3. Fred says:

    They are changing the numbers to fit their narrative.

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